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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer May 18, 2000
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Renovations enhance campus academic and social life

You won't find any blackboards in the renovated James E. Gleason College of Engineering Building. In part that's because, "We're changing how we teach." So says Don Buss, operations manager for the massive $15 million rebuilding effort, about three-fourths complete.

Most work is expected to be finished by this fall, but major portions of the project are already taking shape.

Showcase items are the new atrium and Engineering Auditorium, both in an addition connecting the Gleason Building with the Microelectronic and Computer Engineering Building. The auditorium, seating about 125, features state-of-the-art, two-way videoconferencing capabilities allowing for simultaneous connections with three other sites. Wireless microphones, cameras that automatically track speakers as they move and language interpretation resources are included.

Major projects this summer will include

smart classroom
The new Engineering Auditorium in the James E. Gleason Building
outdoor landscaping and creation of Erdle Commons, the latter on the building's east side. The area will be a place for students and faculty to gather informally to study and socialize. It is made possible by a $1 million gift from Jack Erdle, founder and chairman of Henrietta-based Erdle Corp.

Renovations and new equipment on all three floors of the complex are part of the rebuilding project. Buss says a goal is to make future equipment upgrades and technology changes as easy as possible. "It evolves every year," he says. "We've tried to make the building very flexible."

The project also includes upgrades to the building's heating and ventilation systems and the addition of air conditioning. Buss says that work has been performed with minimal disruption to classes.

Funding for the rebuilding project came from a $10 million gift from the Gleason Foundation, the largest cash gift ever received by RIT. The College of Engineering is named for Kate Gleason, first female bank president in the United States and daughter of William Gleason, founder of what became Rochester-based Gleason Corp. Kate Gleason also held important positions in her father's company and was America's first woman engineering student and the first woman elected a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The engineering building is named for James Gleason, brother of Kate Gleason and member of the RIT Board of Trustees for more than 60 years until his death in 1964.

New campus hot spots expected to open this fall

Students and staff in search of respites will have two new spots to take a breather.

Come this fall, all roads will lead to the newest building on campus--the west-end marketplace.

Located north of parking lot S, the single-floor, 18,000-square-feet structure will feature a stucco facade and include a convenience store, copy center, dining facility and new offices for alumni relations, says Martin Becker, director of design and construction services.

Construction on the $3.8 million project will begin over the summer with completion slated for this fall, he adds.

The eatery will include a six-station dining area with television sets and seating for 190. Stations for Asian dishes and coffee and desserts will be in addition to those for traditional favorites such as burgers, pizza and submarine sandwiches. All food will be prepared in the view of patrons.

Services available in the copy center will include binding, copying (including color), faxing, laminating and scanning. In addition, PC and Mac workstations and mail services will be available. Payment for services by cash, credit card or debit card will be accepted.

The 800-square-feet convenience store will offer bottled beverages, health and beauty aids, microwaveable food items, snacks and much more.

James Bingham, food service director, says the facility will serve both students and staff. "It's going to be a place where a lot of things happen," he says.

Negotiations are underway for a proposed coffee house inside Wallace Library. The coffee house will be in the after-hours area in the library and likely open from early morning until late night.

It will include space for student performances, says Pat Pitkin, library director, describing the coffee house as an enhancement to the library and "a real asset" to the RIT campus.

Other projects planned for the RIT campus this summer, according to Martin Becker, director of design and construction services, include:

* Start of construction of the west-end marketplace building and a proposed coffee shop in Wallace Library, both expected to open this fall (see related story);

* Renovations to Sol Heumann Hall, including the addition of a store selling a variety of items such as health and beauty aids, housewares, magazines, malts, milk shakes and snacks in space formerly occupied by a corner store;

* Final stages of renovations to Nathaniel Rochester Hall including the relocation of post offices from Grace Watson Hall and Hettie L. Shumway Commons to the new central post office in NRH. The new facility is scheduled to open May 24;

* Exterior renovations to Perkins Green Apartments including new doors, lighting, siding, trim and windows;

* Construction of the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Building at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf;

* Acoustical, audio-visual and seating improvements to Webb Auditorium in James E. Booth Building;

* Acoustical and concession improvements to Frank Ritter Ice Arena; and

* Various road improvement projects and installation of additional blue light courtesy/emergency telephones throughout campus.

Oh, and what about those missing blackboards from the Gleason Building? Well, amidst all the high-tech features of the structure, including multimedia classrooms with Internet access and projection screens, it might be easy to overlook the "whiteboards"--written on with erasable magic markers instead of chalk. "Clapping" of erasers, it seems, has gone the way of, well, Pentium processors. Welcome to 2000.

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